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If and When
Artist: Coastal Dune
Label: UK indie
Length: 6 tracks/38.32

When one of Britain's leading daily newspapers, the Guardian, ran a story on the prominence of evangelical Christianity at Durham University a number of heads were turned. Many of them focused on the student band featured heavily in the article--Coastal Dune.

A regular feature on the university's live scene, even a cursory listen to Coastal Dune's second release reveals that the band draws on the broad spectrum of popular music for its inspiration. From an atmospheric opening,  the dominant acoustic guitar gives the opening track an engaging pop-folk sound, which rears its head at various points through this EP. Later tracks see the introduction of a saxophone to give "Gratified" a touch of swing and programmed drums which assist the album in its diversity.

That diversity may work well live, and it does add variety, but it is the more acoustic side they open with that suggests real promise. The female vocals of Becky Harding are refreshingly simple and really shine on the acoustic-driven "You." There is a general need for a stronger focus throughout, both in the songwriting, which is clear and honest but could do with more direction in its phrasing, and in pulling the music into a more cohesive whole.

When they concentrate on their strengths, Coastal Dune are a promising and engaging band, whose background in the student scene will surely stand them in good stead as they venture further afield.

James Stewart   2/8/2000

 

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